Author Topic: OK to want to leave?  (Read 5212 times)


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OK to want to leave?
« on: February 17, 2016, 08:15:08 AM »
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 09:45:20 AM by Justin »


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 10:25:26 AM »
It's ok.

You do what you have to do. I've moved twice since Dan died in the fall of 2012. Both times were to make things easier to raise DD and two dogs on my own. But they had the added effect of incrementally helping me to deal with my grief. The first move, it got me out of the immediate surroundings I shared with Dan, although it was still close enough where I had to experiences places we had been to together, if not every day. Then last May I moved to a new state (From Chicago metro to Detroit metro). Getting out of that area has helped tremendously. My new job is intense and radically different and that plus learning the new area took up so much energy, energy I couldn't direct towards thinking about Dan. I started dating, and have been in a relationship for a couple of months and not only would I not have met him had I stayed where I was, I don't think I would have even considered dating. It was a kind of reset, I think. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't fix things. But it did help, on a day to day level especially.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2016, 11:51:28 AM »
I left our house but stayed in the same town for my kids sake. I would love to move somewhere completely new but now I have fallen in love with someone who has young kids here so I don't think I will be moving anywhere until I'm ready to retire (a long way away!).  I would say if you want to move it will be easier now than once your kiddo is older and more attached to friends and activities in town.

The new house has helped me and slowly the reminders around town are easing. My DH was very active in town, especially in youth sports and his business which at times makes it hard to move forward.
You will forever be my always.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 12:28:27 PM »
I had to move at about 10 months out. I couldn't afford our home on my own and figured I could use the opportunity to live closer to work (by 25 miles!) and my parents. It was hard to leave, but it was also a relief. There aren't ghosts in my new place. I like the area I live in quite a lot and have not gone back to where I lived before even once since. There is nothing for me there, and it feels like my whole future is where I am now. If your heart says leave, you may want to listen to it. If you are conflicted, you lose nothing by staying until you are ready to make a decision, which may end up being to stay. Many of us have stayed in the homes we shared and it works, but for some of us it doesn't. For me, it didn't work to stay and I can say it is a positive life change.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. - Unknown

Don't be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous. - Hazrat Inayat Khan

Joe: 1979- 7/2014


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2016, 12:51:11 PM »
I left the city I'd lived in for over a decade.  I lived there before meeting DH, but he'd been there since he was 11.  It was where all of our memories were, and his family and everyone who knew him.  At about two years, I started craving a big, big change.  I ended up moving to be with the man I was seeing, also a widow(er).  We now live in his house.  But I'm feeling the need for change again - we live in the town where his late fiancee was born and raised, she'd never left.  So, yeah, I get it.  Fresh starts feel good.  It's not like we'll ever rid ourselves of memories, but it's hard living among constant reminders - "this is the place where ____, this is where ____," etc., etc.
widowed 2011 (DH 28)


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2016, 08:19:29 PM »
I moved 5 days after the one year anniversary of my first husband's death.  I lived in a house that was built for his wheelchair access needs, in the town where he grew up and had family.  Our home was more about him than me and I had no difficulty moving away...far away...except that he is buried back there and it is hard to visit his grave.

Do what's right for you.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2016, 08:57:28 AM »
Agreed - do what feels right. You sound as though you are really making the effort to make positive changes in your life to try and move forward so maybe it is time ? My husband died suddenly only 3 months after we moved to a new suburb town and bought a house (sized for several expected children) and I knew no one and felt isolated but didn't have the energy to move. I have been growing into my town over the past 4 years and my son and I are pretty happy here - but the memories of what happened really linger. Logistically, its also a hard commute, hard to manage, I miss being close to my family....I also have been craving change (i.e. a big move) for a while now....and wish I personally could muster up the energy to do it. I am inspired by those on the board that have!


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2016, 10:35:54 AM »
Sure it?s okay to move if you wish but bear in mind that moving, by itself, is not a panacea for all issues that may be troubling you.

Among other things, you stated you are very angry with many in the town. Okay, I understand but simply removing them from your line of sight will not resolve the issues you have with them. It?s possible that even after a move, the negativity you feel towards them will linger ? perhaps for a long time if that anger remains unresolved. If you can process it, work through it and stow it away there?s a high likelihood that it will be gone forever.

Yes, I can see the landscapes your late wife designed are a reminder of her and the impacts she once had. But so is your son and I?m certain that he is a constant reminder of all that was good and tender of her. Could her landscapes possibly be viewed in the same light also? 

The point I?m striving to make is simply be careful expecting a sea change just because of a move.  I?m getting the feeling from your post that there may be a bit of ?running away? involved here. If that is so, perhaps a potential move can be viewed as ?running towards? something instead with just a small change in outlook.

The end result would be the same but the viewpoint needed to get there is completely different. And sometimes that can make a world of difference.

Best wishes and good luck! Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 07:33:40 AM »
I think there are times, and this may be one of them, where "running away" is appropriate. Think about it. When there is danger, we run away. If you were under attack from a dangerous animal, you would run away (not bears, don't run from them, you'll never outrun a  bear). Sometimes it's healthier to run from something than to fight it. Sure you could try to resituate your surroundings, you could bear down and fight to make it less painful. And if you are successful, so what? Why does anyone need to do that? To prove something? To whom? Your only obligation is to your child, and if "running away" helps you create a life for your child that isn't clouded by constant in your face reminders then do that.

It wasn't my intention to run away from anything; I knew that wasn't possible. That the pain would follow me wherever I went. And it's still there, right up in my face. But it's not punching me in the face repeatedly. I have to go back to my hometown in a couple weeks to take DD to see her grandparents and I am dreading it. It will set me back, make things hard for a week. Does that mean I never dealt with my grief? No it means I found a way to make the day to day more bearable. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 06:50:40 PM »
I stayed in our old place for three years after my wife died.  It was a cozy little one room beach town condo, where we'd finally gotten the dogs she wanted and figured we'd retire to someday.  We lived there from our early thirties to early forties, and I'd say they were absolutely the best years of our lives.  It was a town where we could walk to all our favorite places, everyone knew our dog's names and occasionally ours too.  And after she died, we planted a memorial tree for her along her favorite morning walk--  a municipal garden path that few knew about except locals.

I felt like I needed to be there, until I couldn't stand it anymore.  I just kept seeing her around every corner, every shop we used to pop into, every stack of books at the local library, every empty table at the local music scene cafe.

So I moved.  I moved away from most of my friends to the countryside and a town of 2400 people, most of whom I don't talk to all that much.  I spend my days off with my animals (sheep, chicken and horses added to dogs now).  And I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake.  But honestly, by myself in that old place, I was going downhill fast.  The memories just crowded me too close, and I admit I used to have to drink heavily to get them to quiet down enough to more or less sleep.  I'm not sure I'm that much better now, but I don't wake up curled up on the floor with a half empty bottle of whisky and a pile of old love letters.

Did I have to move to achieve that?  I'm not sure.  But at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2016, 12:50:34 PM »
In a word: YES. It's okay. No one gets to tell you how to wid; you do what you need to do. I couldn't stay in the house where my husband dropped dead one afternoon; we moved across town at about 9 months. I would like to have moved across the country, but I can't do that just yet... hopefully it won't be too much longer. Since I no longer regularly drive past the places that trigger me most, it's better... my life with Jim feels like a long-ago dream anyway. Sometimes I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad one. :-\

((((HUGS)))) Wishing you peace in your decisions...
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2016, 09:43:18 PM »
Speaking as one who has made a very successful move, for all of the right reasons, I think it is perfectly okay to want to leave and to do so. At the same time, I also agree with much of what Portside had to say. In the end, I think what it boils down to is your motivation for leaving, and whether there are unresolved issues that you are running away from, or whether you simply need a fresh start. Only you can truly know which one of those two reasons is fueling your desire to leave.

Since you asked for people to share their stories, preferably good ones, I will share mine:

As for me, I can see many similarities between my story and yours. I moved across the country to be with my Kenneth. He and I raised our children together, lived in the same small town together, and shared the same house for the last 11-1/2 years of our life together. In those 11-1/2 years, five of our six children became adults and moved to other states. His family all moved away, as well. After his death, I was left alone, with just our 18 year old son, the two dogs, and a lifetime of memories. I had no support system of any kind, no one I could count on to help me in times of need, and no real reason to stay other than to hold on to memories in a house that was way too large for me to manage on my own. In all honesty, continuing to live in that house and in that town was holding me back and keeping me from processing some of my grief. I had gone as far as I could, and would have remained stuck in my grief, had I not moved on.

Outside of being stuck in my grief, there were a number of other factors that contributed to my decision to move. I was experiencing a number of significant health problems and needed to be closer to quality health care, including specialists, that were not available in my isolated small town. My 18 year old son was offered a job in another state and had planned to move out; and my one close friend in the area also moved away, leaving me virtually alone, with no friends or family close by. Additionally, I was struggling financially and knew I could find a teaching position, that would pay significantly more and would allow me to get back on my feet, if I moved.

Most importantly, I had unexpectedly found this truly remarkable man and had fallen deeply in love. He was there with love and support and a shoulder to lean on, BUT he lived a little over two hours away. After many, many hours of deep discussion and several months of planning, it became clear that my best option would be to move closer to him. At about 18 months after my Kenneth died, I made the move to be closer to New Guy, and I am so happy that I did. Since moving, my stress levels have gone down significantly. I'm now established with specialists, who are working to find the right treatments for my medical issues. I have a teaching position I love. I have made new friends. I have joined a church and sing in the choir. I love my new apartment, which is small and manageable and easy to clean. I can pay my bills! Best of all, on June 10th of this year, my New Guy is going to become my New Husband and I will begin my Chapter 2.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." - Thornton Wilder

Thank you, my dearest Kenneth, for loving me and for giving me the best 13 years of my life.


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2016, 08:37:32 AM »
For what it is worth, my husband was an artist, very involved in the life of our community here, very public with his work and then later with his illness.  I stayed here for him.  It wasn't the life I would have chosen for myself but at the time I was willing to compromise. 

I've stayed in my house for the 3 years since his death.  It was a choice I made but I am not at all sure it was the right one; it certainly wasn't the brave choice.  We are still in the house, still in this god-forsaken town.  I've made it work but I am not happy here.  If I had it all to do over again, I would have left.  At least left the house if not the town.  I'm here but feel no connection to it at all whatsoever. 

When my husband died (brain cancer), I wanted so badly to cut and run away from it all but I couldn't do it.  I believe I've paid a pretty high price for just soldiering on as I have.  Staying here has been hard on both my daughter and me.  I thought stability and constancy were the most important things but I'm no longer so convinced of the wisdom in that. 

I'm getting ready to walk away from the world's most secure job - tenure at a state university - because there has to be more to life than just this; three years on, time has not fixed things and I've done all I can do.  I like what MrsDan said.  A reset.  Not a cure-all but a recalibration.  I wish I had done it earlier. 


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2016, 09:35:17 AM »
What you're saying sounds very familiar.  13 years for me, too, in this job and in this town after a peripatetic life throughout my 20s.  And dementia and feeling trapped and the loss of mooring when the entirety of your life is consumed by others' needs and then that is suddenly gone, yet the child....Parenting alone has nearly done me in.   For me, I had to come to terms with the fact that my identity as wife, partner, caregiver...well really my whole identity was lost.  Hence the disconnect between me and this place, between who I once was and who I am now on my own now that the rest of it is gone. While I'm still in the house and to others it might look the same on the surface, the life I lead now is nothing like that life I lived "before."  I've really reconnected with my work.  It has been my life-line. 

Explore your options - it sounds like you know yourself and have a good sense of direction. 

I've survived by escaping to the city (Philadelphia and sometimes NYC) every chance I get.  There I can be both anonymous and connect with the things that make me happy.  It hasn't solved anything day to day but its been a helpful band-aid. 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 09:57:02 AM by TooSoon »


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Re: OK to want to leave?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2016, 10:34:32 AM »
You'll get no arguments from me about Philadelphia!  Every day I scheme fantasy scenarios where we're living in Bella Vista or Fishtown and not owning a car and knowing our neighbors and NOT LIVING IN SUBURBIA ANYMORE......alas, reality.